In a somewhat predictable fashion, micro-blogging website Twitter, Inc. has launched a domain name complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in respect of the twiter.com and twiter.biz domain names (WIPO Case Number D2011-0986). The twiter.com site has the same general overall look as the twitter.com site, but offers a survey page to solicit user personal information. The twiter.biz site does not appear to be hosted.
There may be an argument regarding prior rights under paragraph 4 of the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), since, interestingly, the “typo-squat” name twiter.com was actually registered on May 7, 2004, about 2 years before Twitter.com launched as a service. Paragraph 4 of the UDRP is addressed to the person whose domain name is being challenged, and sets the framework for the transfer of a domain name. Paragraph 4(a) requires that the challenged domain name be identical or confusingly similar to an existing mark, that the registrant has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name, and that “the domain has been registered and is being used in bad faith”. Paragraph 4(b) is a non-exclusive list of what may constitute bad faith, including “(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”. This aspect of the UDRP was considered recently in, RK Netmedia, Inc. v. Graham Lawton, WIPO UDRP Case No. D2011-0495, which denied the transfer of a domain name on the ground that the domain name was registered prior to the complainant having acquired any rights.
It will be interesting to see if this case also supports retention of twiter.com by the current owner.
For copy of the case at WIPO, visit:
For the WIPO guide to the UDRP, visit:
For additional information, visit: